Hegel HD25

Hegel HD25 D/A Converter

In recent years the concept of a mid-to-high-priced DAC was specified with sufficient clarity. This price range now includes products capable of managing signals with data rates well over the old “Red Book” 16bit/44.1kHz requirement (these days the 24bit/192kHz spec is almost a de-facto standard), have at least one port to connect to a computer (usually a USB port) and, often but not necessarily, they are able to perform as a basic preamp for digital or -even better- for digital and analog signals. An increasing number of users will also look for a decent headphone output.
Based on this general model, we have seen a number of very interesting designs and it is rather dull (yet -probably- unavoidable) to repeat here that these devices are, quite possibly, the first paragraph in an important new chapter in high performance audio systems, making high resolution streaming a standard feature.

Hegel seems to feel quite comfortable in this market sector. They currently offer four devices with a progressively expanding set of features (with the latest model presented at the Munich show last Spring, featuring DSD streaming). HD25 can handle PCM signals up to 32bit/192kHz and offers standard connectivity through coaxial and optical inputs and asynchronous USB streaming as well.
As often happens with Hegel's designs there are some things well hidden under the hood and not obvious, by just looking at a product's photo. The usual, rather minimalistic, approach is present hiding some of the HD25's interesting features such as the re-clocking, the low jitter design, and a sophisticated analog stage. Moreover, it appears that there is an interesting question to be answered as well: Is there an input selector included? (Spoiler: Yes, there is…)

Dimitris Stamatakos

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Original Publilcation: 2014/07/15 Last Follow Up: 2014/07/15 Original Language: Greek (English Version)

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